The Polar Bear’s Last Will and Testimony (by Lucian Childs)

It was dark, but not Dreaming Time. There was a roar, but not that of sea-ice breaking. When there was ice. I hardly noticed it had gone—I was too preoccupied with the dying.

We were lucky though. There was a sting and when I woke, I felt you kicking inside me. What a comfort that was!

No, you are my seventh—the only one I remember. Because you cannot go away.

It’s nice enough here, I suppose. But, I don’t like fish, and the ones here taste strange. The cave-ice is too thin, the walls too flat. I don’t like the way they look at us.

Yes, I know you’re fond of the hairless ones, but what is one less when there are so many?

I must be quick; he comes. After I take him, they’ll put me down.

Don’t be sad. I smell a young female near; she’ll keep you company, give you babies.

I can’t live without the broad horizon—that I bequeath you and the sweet fat of the seal, their breathing holes’ smell in the cold blank air, deep sea silence and riding on the floes. The sundown’s quick green flash. The amethyst-strand dancing skies.

Please, keep these close. When the ice returns you will need them—you or the ones that come after.

This is an original work posted by permission from the author. This work is not to be reproduced or replicated in any form without the express written consent of the author.


Lucian Childs lives in Anchorage. A slightly shorter version of this piece was runner-up in last year’s Anchorage PRESS micro-fiction contest.

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